Here's How to Go Parisian for a Weekend in New York City
So you want to spend the day acting like a Parisian? Perhaps you’re a bit of a Francophile looking to sate your French tastes. Maybe you’re dying for a vacation, but a trip to Eiffel Tower is out of your budget. Or, even better yet, you’re trying to plan the perfect date night for a special someone or your gal pals. Whatever your mission, we’re here to help.
Before we even start listing destinations and restaurants and events, let’s first cover a bit of ground, here. Parisians are a breed all their own. Similar to New Yorkers in many ways, sure, but very different in their own regard. If you want to aim for authenticity, consider nailing the “Parisian look.”
According to Marie Claire author Susie Moore, who lived in France, “It is all about the timeless, well-cut, and classic look – snug jeans, tailored blazers, classic trench coat, cashmere sweaters and little black dresses. They obsess over fabric too—it has to feel expensive (even if it’s not)!”
Those little details — like the French silk scarf hand-me-down from grandma or the effortless chignon – make all the difference.
Finally, you’ve got to nail the attitude, too. This cheeky article at Garance Dore insists there are a few keys to being a proper Parisian. For starters, you’ve got to turn your nose up a little bit at tourists, even if you’re a tourist yourself. Blend, walk with confidence, and act like you belong. Also adopt a “woe is the world” stance, and make an effort to engage in healthy complaining about the state of things these days. It’s the Parisian way to bond.
Another must: frankness. Flattery only gets you so far, but the cold hard truth shall set you free. And finally, you mustn’t go without a glass of wine in your hand for any extended period of time. It’s preferred that, whilst sipping, you passionately converse about current hot topics. A Parisian is always well versed. Mix in a little bit of that complaining and you’ll have it nailed, for sure.
Food and Drink
Now that you’ve got the commandments down, it’s time to go along your merry way. We recommend these three restaurants to start, but of course New York has plenty more to offer. We chose these restaurants because they’re not over-the-top expensive, but still promise comforting Parisian cuisine and the authentic charm of a neighborhood bistro.
1008 Second Ave. at 53rd Street
New York New York
La Mangeoire is noted for its cozy, romantic charm and authentic French rustic charm. Since its inception 35 years ago, the food has consistently been ranked high by restaurant-goers. For a real bargain and delicious dining experience, try the lunch or dinner Prix Fixe, $25 and $45 per person, respectively.
50 E. 86th Street
New York New York
Opened in 1978, Demarchelier Restaurant is another go-to for New Yorkers looking for a genuine French experience. They now offer a completely organic menu, in addition to their regular menu, which also makes it popular among the environmentally conscious.
Multiple Locations – New York City
We’re putting Maison-Kayser on this list for several reasons. First, it’s an “authentic artisanal French Boulangerie.” That means the baked goods, including perfected French bread, are made and baked on site all day long. Second, because there are numerous locations, this is an accessible one for many. Consider dropping in for just desert, or opt for the full blown meal. P.S. They also deliver.
558 Broome Street
New York, NY 10013
Finally, we must mention La Sirene. We’re particularly fond of their BYOB ($10 cork fee), and the menu is a delight. It’s “crafted to reflect the best of South France” and promises delectable bites thanks to in season, fresh ingredients.
Events and Destinations
Food out of the way, let’s discuss some other ways you can get your Parisian on in the Big Apple.
This is a no brainer destination for both tourists and residents alike. To make it a truly French experience, swing by the French Impressionist exhibits and soak up the culture.
On Tuesdays through June and July, FIAF is hosting what they call a Cine Salon. “Catch some of the most subversive and surreal films of the past 50 years. In this series, works by leading directors—including Buñuel, Malle, and Godard—are united by one common thread: the imaginative French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière.” Dates include Tuesdays, June 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 and July 7, 14, 21 & 28. Get more info on the website.
Bastille Day, France’s national holiday, takes place on July 12 this year. New York will host a street fair on 60th street between Fifth and Lexington Avenues from noon to 5 p.m. “This year’s edition will include an even greater line-up of exciting events, with new activities including a champagne tasting in our beautiful Skyroom, free film screenings for kids and families, and talented performers making their Bastille Day debut on the main stage,” says the website. Get more info via the link.
By Wendy Rose Gould
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